The European Commission has today formally extended until the end of June 2016 the safety net measures for the European fruit and vegetables sector, as announced by EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan at the last Council of Ministers meeting on 13 July.
First introduced last year in response to the Russian ban on the import of EU fruit and vegetables, today's step follows Russia's decision last month to extend its import embargo for a further 12 months.
Today, the Commissioner responsible for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan said: "The significant actions taken to date by the European Union have demonstrated the solidarity of the EU with farmers most affected by the Russian ban. These actions also played an important part in mitigating the effects of the ban. Now, with the ban prolonged, we need to continue to provide a safety net in order to give security to producers who continue to face difficulties in relation to the ban."
Today's move extends until 30 June 2016 the fruit & vegetables measures that ended on 30 June 2015, aiming to ease market pressures for the main groups of fruit and vegetables that were previously exported to Russia.
They cover tomatoes, carrots, cabbages, sweet peppers, cauliflowers and headed broccoli, cucumbers and gherkins, mushrooms, apples, pears, plums, soft fruit, fresh table grapes, kiwifruit, sweet oranges, clementines, mandarins, lemons, peaches and nectarines.
These measures consist of withdrawals of produce for free distribution to charitable organisations and for "other purposes" (such as animal feed, composting, distillation), as well as so-called "non-harvesting" and "green harvesting" measures.
Reference volumes (see Annex) have been allocated to Member States on the basis of exports to Russia in the 3 years prior to the ban, with an additional quantity of up to 3 000 tonnes for all Member States in order to further stabilise the market. Under the exceptional support measures introduced last autumn, figures up to the end of July show that around 793 000 tonnes have been withdrawn from the market using EU support worth roughly € 163 million.